End Grain Cutting Board - Maple, Purpleheart and Black Walnut

  • Advertise with us
Project by mtkate posted 08-03-2009 09:06 PM 5833 views 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first attempt – and definitely will not be my last.

After seeing so many fantabulous cutting boards on this site – I finally ventured farther than I have ever been before and bought wood that is NOT pine, oak or maple. In fact, maple is still a new venture for me.

This took me 3 weekends (unfortunately, I have a dayjob that is NOT woodworking… or is that fortunately so I can afford to make mistakes?). The first weekend was to joint, plane and cut the strips & glue them (last pic). The second week was to cut the cross strips and glue them up. The last weekend was finishing.

My planer took a bite off the edges, so I learned a lesson there that they need protection or I have to cut the pieces for the ends a bit wider… and it also bit into the board (you can see it in the 3rd pic) because I am still learning how to use a planer effectively. I decided not to fix the bite, since I will be keeping the board and chopping into it. Someday I will have to plane it down again. In any case, my boyfriend hardly noticed.

The shop gnomes also got in during the last glue up and played with my perfectly book-matched stripes (LOL). Now I understand the skill required and have learned that patience is indeed a virtue. The stripes are off by a small amount, but you can’t tell from afar.

I rounded the edges as much as possible for the day I drop this thing on my toes. It’s heavy!!! The board is almost 2 inches thick. I used waterproof glue and I think it will hold but I will take special care.

In any case, it’s sanded down to a glass smooth feel and is awaiting the first chop. I don’t think either of us has the heart but it’s gotta happen.

12 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3976 days

#1 posted 08-03-2009 09:21 PM

nice work ! cutting boards are always fun to make and great gifts too

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Mauritius's profile


96 posts in 3219 days

#2 posted 08-03-2009 09:27 PM

Looks great! I haven’t made an end grain board yet, but it’s on the list. I’ve read a bit of advice you might find helpful. If you round the edges slightly before you run it through the planer you won’t have as big of a problem with blowout on the ends.

The other stuff I’ve read is that running end grain through a planer can be very dangerous. Some people refuse to do it, there are plenty of “my cutting board/planer exploded and almost killed me” stories out there. A lot of the tutorials you read online stress this, and say that it’s really really important to sand or hand plane the board nearly flat and take very light passes on the planer. And don’t stand in front or behind of the planer when the board’s going through.

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3319 days

#3 posted 08-03-2009 09:31 PM

Thanks! I did not think of rounding the edges. It’s logical.

I was really careful with the planer, because I was aware of those foibles – and indeed made really light passes after having taken down some obvious differences with a block planer. But I will admit the block planer work was very difficult (or I am very lazy!!!). I am also paranoid enough that I never stand in front or back of the planer – and always have a clear path to that big “off” button :)

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3407 days

#4 posted 08-03-2009 09:37 PM

Board looks good, nice job

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View SimonSKL's profile


185 posts in 3233 days

#5 posted 08-03-2009 10:15 PM

Very nice and beautifully done! I have yet to make one. Yours inspires me to make one soon. Thanks for the pictures.

-- Simon, Danville, IL

View degoose's profile


7231 posts in 3348 days

#6 posted 08-03-2009 10:20 PM

A first attempt is always a challenge and a learning curve.
For your next one might I suggest that you vary the width of the stripes in the first glue up stage and when you cut and roll …alternate the pieces.
This will achieve two things.. the pieces will lock themselves in like laying bricks.
Secondly if the shop gremlins move the glue up then it will be less noticable.
Well done and many more to come. BTW I hope you don’t mind me giving you advice.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3319 days

#7 posted 08-03-2009 10:25 PM

I love advice, especially from the expert himself!

View eddy's profile


939 posts in 3358 days

#8 posted 08-04-2009 12:29 AM

nice color combo. turned out great
watch out cutting boards can be addicting

-- self proclaimed copycat

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3289 days

#9 posted 08-04-2009 01:56 AM

Don’t know if you’ve seen the Wood Whisperer podcast video of an end grain cutting board, but here is the link-

This was my first tutorial, it was an easy board to make, and soooo fancy.

Very good first attempt, definitely round your edges before you plane. I run the edges on the router table with a 1/8” roundover bit before planing, no tear out. Also, yes be very careful planing end grain, it can be hazardous. I only take skim cuts and run the board through many times.

Things don’t always line up like you want them to, but do like Larry suggested and you should avoid this. Keep the boards coming, it gets better the more you do it.


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3319 days

#10 posted 08-04-2009 02:42 AM

Thanks Lisa. Very cool plan – even gives you an approximate cost.

How many weeks until xmas? Let’s see…. I can make one every 3 weeks, but I think I have enough clamps to stagger 2 at a time…

I need more clamps.

View JoeinDE's profile


444 posts in 3317 days

#11 posted 08-04-2009 01:39 PM

Nice cutting board. I was too chicken to try end-grain on my first attempt.

You can never have too many clamps.


View Manitario's profile


2630 posts in 2877 days

#12 posted 07-27-2011 04:22 AM

this is a beautiful, heavy duty cutting board. Great choice of wood for it!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics